Revolution #248, October 23, 2011

Seattle Occupy Update

October 20—Five thousand people turned out on October 15 in Seattle at Westlake Park for the international day of solidarity with the Occupy movement. For three hours an amazing variety of people poured out their hearts about why this movement has spoken to them and moved them to act. There was a contagious, generous spirit passed among people as one man from the stage told everyone to look at those standing next to them and say, "I'm with you"—a little glimpse of what a cooperative world would look like. Isolation being broken down, a love for humanity and connectedness developed. A woman and her daughter came to the Revolution Books table and both were in tears. The staffer asked if they were alright, they could barely talk. The woman just held her heart and she shook her head, yes, she was just so happy.

Thousands marched to Chase Manhattan Bank. Youth burned dollar bills and cut up their bank credit cards while others tried to withdraw their money and close accounts. That evening over 100 tents were set up in defiance of orders and previous arrests by city authorities. All that night and the next day the park was a scene—"young high school kids making their own protest signs, parents with their kids, a huge banner stretching along a main street through downtown saying "Occupy Seattle” and another saying, "War is Terrorism." Intense discussions were going on among knots of people from very different walks of life—'"a teach-in on the Tar Sands Pipeline protests, workshops on racism, revolutionaries engaging people over the Revolution special issue on the environment and struggling over the difference between Bob Avakian's new synthesis communism and Castro's or Chavez's "socialism." A young college student holding a sign saying "This is the shit Marx was talking about" was excited to learn about Revolution newspaper and got the BAsics special issue. The issue got out to many who had never heard about BA or this revolution.

On October 17, the city moved against the encampment, removing all the tents and arresting eight people. Night after night police have moved through the encampment carrying billy clubs and dangling handcuffs, shining lights in people's faces, harassing people and waking them up so they couldn't rest. Despite arrests, harassment and threats, the encampment and the spirit among people continues despite disagreements and some sharp differences. There has been growing discussion and debate about what the police's role is in society and there are many questions. Won't the police have a reason to attack us if we protest them? Yes, they do bad things but they are part of the 99%, aren't they, and so can't they be won over in time? If the police are part of the system, what does that say about what kind of change is necessary? Everyone is learning a lot. The National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality on October 22nd has been endorsed by Occupy Seattle and will start at the Occupy site.

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

What Humanity Needs
From Ike to Mao and Beyond